Seven Tips on How to Navigate the Social Media Transformation�
Tips to bring more balance into your life as a leader.
In my previous post, I shared the premise of author Barry Libert that social media holds the promise of helping us to overcome the imbalance of values that has defined the corporate world for decades. Attributes such as caring, nurturing, compassion, vulnerability and transparency, which tend to be manifested in women more inherently than in men, and which are free to be embraced in the social media environment, stand to be much more highly valued in the workplace as social media becomes more ingrained in business.
Libert, CEO of social software provider Mzinga and author of the book, 'Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business," argues that to effectively steer the transformation being driven by social media, men need to start embracing their 'feminine side,' and women need to be freed from having to squelch this natural dimension of their leadership styles. Here are seven tips Libert offers to bring more balance into your life as a leader:
- Get to know the people around you. Women tend to be "people persons" at heart-and so do great social leaders. Allow yourself to care about the people who work for you. Get to know them and understand what motivates them, what inspires them, and what they want when they come to work.
- Know what you are not-and ask for help when you need it. We all know that men who are lost tend to refuse to stop and ask for directions. And it's just as widely understood that their wives are sitting in the passenger seats begging, "Please, please just stop at this gas station. I'll be happy to go in and ask!" This principle often applies in the business world as well. Women are far more likely to do what they do best and rely on others to complete the rest of the puzzle.
- Let others lead, while you follow. Women tend to have less ego tied up in leadership. They don't mind letting others take the reins when it makes sense. And that's a good thing, because traditional leadership no longer works in the social business world. To be a good social leader, subjugate your own needs for the betterment of the community. Follow your leadership team, listen to your newest hires, put yourself where they are and hear the other perspectives. Let your employees lead the way. This means giving them permission to succeed as well as fail, with you being supportive in the background.
- Know how others perceive you. Women generally have a better sense of self-awareness than men. They have a better understanding of how others view them and of what they do that influences these perceptions. As a social leader, you need to honestly ask yourself: Am I intimidating? Do I have a loud and booming voice that dominates any room I walk into? Is my demeanor aggressive or threatening?
- Embrace a social culture. In 'How Remarkable Women Lead,' authors Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston suggest that women leaders are driven by five primary attributes that can be boiled down to the following: self-awareness, happiness, emotional and physical recovery, engagement, and reciprocity and recognition. These attributes are based on female leaders' core needs to help grow the talent of their people, to tolerate change in people and to create real impact, including personal renewal and internal joy. Anyone, regardless of gender, can contribute to this kind of culture.
- Focus on what's in it for others. Men and women do approach life in different ways. While men are single-mindedly focused on meeting linear goals, women are building bridges that may serve them in the future. Likewise, traditional business leaders think about the products they build, the services they offer and the returns they can expect before they think about anything else. Social leaders, on the other hand, start by thinking about what's in it for other people as they begin to build a loyal following.
- Remember, business is personal. Women tend to have an easier time than men demonstrating humility, caring and openness. At work, this manifests itself as a tendency to speak to employees and coworkers like they speak to their families, which in turn encourages them to talk. Like it or not, people are bringing themselves, their personalities, their voices and their personal selves to work. Social leaders, both women and men, embrace this reality, because they understand that it enhances business.